Sunday, May 18, 2014

Twenty-Five Books A Year

Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned points out a pretty serious flaw in Professor Volokh's defense of "substantial burden" argument about magazine limits:
Professor Eugene Volokh is famously known for liking substantial burden analysis when it comes to the Second Amendment, particularly when it comes to deciding the constitutionality of magazine bans.

I came across an interesting statistic this morning that got me thinking. According to a Pew Poll released earlier in the year, the typical American reads five books a year, just like a typical self-defense shooting only involves two shots. For the sake of argument, it would not be too substantial a burden on a person’s First Amendment right to limit the number of books Americans can buy in one year to twenty-five books.
Sebastian points to the absurdities that would result from using such a model for the First Amendment -- and even comes up with a plausible governmental interest in limiting the number of books that each of us can buy each year -- reducing global warming.  This is certainly as plausible a claim as the idea that limiting magazine capacity to 10 (or 5 in a few more years) will reduce mass murders -- that is to say, it is unsupported by facts and evidence, but it makes the proponent feel good.


  1. I'd be rather more impressed if Sebastian has formulated an argument against the use of 'substantial benefit analysis' in general, especially concerning its lack of academic, legal, and logical rigour to the subjects on which it is applied. It has been used in a variety of cases to excuse both pleaders and judges from exercising thought in arguments or judgements.


  2. Someone needs to tell Sebastian to be quiet about this or the left will take it seriously and start a movement to amend the First Amendment to restrict the number and type of books or other reading material that can be read. After all, too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

  3. There is a very simple argument as to why magazine limits pose an undue burden on the lawfully armed citizen. To wit, the badguy gets to decide when crime is going to happen; he can have a dozen magazines in his pockets or backpack. The good guy, on the other hand, is of needs going to be in a reactive position. Most CCW holders don't have any extra magazines, and I presume a very small percentage carry more than one, for the very simple reason that concealing magazines is uncomfortable and bothersome.

    That demonstrates that (even under the ludicrous assumption that the badguy is going to obey capacity limits) the good guy needs standard (a.k.a. "high") capacity magazines more than the badguy does.